Sunday, January 17, 2010

World's Largest Flower

The largest flower in the world, the rafflesia arnoldi, weighs 7 kg (15 pounds) and grows only on the Sumatra island of Indonesia. Its petals grow to metre (1,6 feet) long and 2,5 cm (1 inch) thick.

There are 16 species of rafflesia, found in Sumatra, Malaysia and Borneo. The species is named after the naturalist Sir Stamford Raffles, who founded the British colony of Singapore in 1819. Raffles discovered the parasitic plant with his friend Dr. Joseph Arnold during their travels in May 1818. The rafflesia arnoldi is named after the two.

However fascinating and beautiful the rafflesia arnoldi may be, it is also called "
corpse flower" and really reeks, the latter to attract flies for pollination.

Of about 200,000 kinds of flowers in the world, the smallest is the
duckweed, which can only be seen with a microscope.